(Last Updated on : 22/04/2015)
The ardent worshippers of Vishnu
, upholds the cult of Vishnu or Vaishnavism. They equate MahaVishnu with the Omnipotent and Omnipresent Parabrahman (Absolute Holy Supremacy) of Ishwara or God.
Vishnu Purana celebrates the eternal glory of the Dasavatars i.e. Ten Avatars of MahaVishnu. It elaborates the unique way of annihilating the ravaging Asura or demon, Hiranyakashipu, by the Narashima Avatar. Narashima is the half-lion and half-man form or Avatar of MahaVishnu.
The death of his evil, demon-brother, Hiranyaksha in the hands of the Varaha or Boar Avatar of MahaVishnu, enraged the grief-stricken Asura Hiranyakashipu. He was determined to avenge the killing of his dear brother, by clinging to the impossible aim to demolish Vishnu and his devotees. He wanted to establish himself as the master of all the three worlds- Heaven, Earth and the Underworld. He got engaged into rigorous penance for years on the Mandar Parvat or Mountain. His unflinching commitment compelled the Kind Brahma to respond to his intense tapasya or meditation. Hiranyakashipu, entreated Lord Brahma
, to grant him the boon of immortality. Brahma, however explained that none can access immortality, " All living beings must face death, Hiranyakashipu. You can, however, choose your death wish."
Hiranyakashipu asked for a death-wish, conditioned by three kinds of situations, " O Brahma, let not death come to me either by man by man or beast, nor devil, nor god, shall cause my death by day or night with steel or stone or wood, indoors or outdoors, or earth or in sky. Grant me undisputed lordship, over the world". Brahma blessed him accordingly.
The grace of Brahma empowered the bad demon. He embarked on a mission to conquer the worlds and turned out into a demon-oppressor. He tormented the worshippers of Lord Vishnu. Vishnu promised them to destroy Hiranyakashipu in the future to come.
Meanwhile, Prahlada, the son of Hiranyakashipu was born. Prahlada grew to be a devout devotee of MahaVishnu. Hiranyakashipu, witnessing such pro-Vishnu attitude in Prahlada, tried his best to deviate his son from the virtuous path of Vishnu-worship. But his repeated insistence on Vishnu as an enemy of Hiranyakashipu bore no fruits. Prahlad remained firm in his Bhakti Yoga
or State of Devotion to MahaVishnu.
The furious tyrant, Hiranyakashipu, ordered his servants to assassin his own son, Prahlada. A heavy stone was tied to Prahlad's body and was pushed down the mountain, but Vishnu saved pious Prahlada. Again, he was thrown into turbulent river, but was rescued by the protector Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu did not stop attempting murder. Prahlad was placed under an elephant's massive feet to get him trampled, but the elephant, obeying the Lord's wish, held Prahlada up with his trunk and made him sit, on his back. He then endeavoured to burn him with blazing fire, but Prahlad remained unharmed. Even, poisoning failed.
Utterly frustrated, Hiranyakashipu, shouted at the small boy, Prahlada, "You, curse of the family! The three worlds tremble at my glance. But you, my son, how do you dare to disobey me?" He madly questioned him, " Prahlad! Is my enemy whom you worship, present anywhere here?" Prahlad, calmly replied, "Vishnu is all-pervading. There's not a single place where he's not found." In a fit of fury, he struck one of the pillars with his mace, and asked "why should he not appear to me in this pillar? I am going to kill you this very moment. You have been praising Hari as the Lord of the Universe. Let him come to your help if he can." Just as he rose to slaughter the boy there was a deafening sound that shook the place. The pillar was noticed to be cracked into two.
From the pillar, came out Narashima, the half-man (Nara) and half-animal (Simha-lion) Avatar, neither completely man, or animal or god. . It was a fearsome huge figure. Vishnu's explosive wrath was visible in the fearsome, massive stature of his Narashima Avatar. The eyes of the Narashima were flaming like molten gold. The matted hair, large moustache and the sharp jaws, the mouth, wide like a mountain-cave, and the robust physique, certainly quaked the alarmed Hiranyakashipu and his courtiers, with trembling terror.
Hiranyakashipu, instead of surrendering to the Almighty Lord and pleading for mercy, tried to hit Narashima with his mace. Narashima swept aside the mace like a toy and caught the demon-ruler. Narasimha squashed Hiranyakashipu in a fantastic manner, retaining all the words of his boon from Brahma as true. It was then twilight, which was neither day nor night; when Narashima inserted his nails deep into the demon's body and tore it, since nails were neither made of stone, or steel or wood. Further Narashima killed the Asura, neither on earth nor in the sky, but by placing the demon on his thighs, at the threshold of the entrance of a courtyard, which was neither outside the house nor inside it. God's praised Narashima's Divinity, "O wonder of wonders!"
Narashima's conflagration of anger did not die away. Shiva manifested himself in the shape of a Sarabam, an animal as well as a human form, with four hands, eight legs, two wings, a beak of that of a falcon and dazzling eyes, to release the rage from Narasimha. The two wings were Kali and Durga. Shiva embraced Narasimha and pacified him by fanning his two wings. The mollified Narashima took the yoga posture. Thus Narasimha became Yoga Narasimhar and Lord Shiva
, as Sarabam is wordshipped as Sarabeswarar. Ultimately when Prahalad touched the feet of Narasimha head in utmost devotion, the Lord was appeased. Narashima. Narashima showered Prahlada with endless love and kindness. He made his birth worthy of living.